Netanyahu’s Real Goal is Not Bombing Iran; It’s Defeating Obama by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on Buzzflash.com
March 19, 2012

The sage Israeli commentator and activist Uri Avnery recently published an excellent analysis of the Israel/Iran situation on The Planetary Movement (1). Mr. Avnery presents the full list of strategic reasons why it is highly unlikely that Netanyahu will launch such an attack. It would result in: the immediate closing of the Strait of Hormuz and thus cut off the flow of about 40% of the world’s oil; an immediate all-out Iranian missile assault on the Israeli cities with some missiles getting through and wreaking much destruction no matter how good the Israel/US “missile shield” is; unknown to most US citizens (including an unknown number of their political leaders, especially on the Right) anyway, Iran is very large country, “larger than Germany, France, Spain and Italy combined,” Mr. Avnery tells us; Continue reading

Advertisements

The Iron Wall by Uri Avnery

Bookmark and Share

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

by Uri Avnery
Crossposted from Planetary Movement
Movements at The Moving Planet Blog – The Iron Wall by Uri Avnery
Jan. 2, 2010

SOMETHING ODD, almost bizarre, is going on in Egypt these days.

About 1400 activists from all over the world gathered there on their way to the Gaza Strip. On the anniversary of the “Cast Lead” War, they intended to participate in a non-violent demonstration against the ongoing blockade, which makes the life of 1.5 million inhabitants of the Strip intolerable.

At the same time, protest demonstrations were to take place in many countries. In Tel-Aviv, too, a big protest was planned. The “monitoring committee” of the Arab citizens of Israel was to organize an event on the Gaza border.

When the international activists arrived in Egypt, a surprise awaited them. The Egyptian government forbade their trip to Gaza. Their buses were held up at the outskirts of Cairo and turned back. Individual protesters who succeeded in reaching the Sinai in regular buses were taken off them. The Egyptian security forces conducted a regular hunt for the activists.

Continue reading

Racists for Democracy by Uri Avnery

Bookmark and Share

Dandelion Salad

by Uri Avnery
Dissident Voice
June 1st, 2009

How lucky we are to have the extreme Right standing guard over our democracy.

This week, the Knesset voted by a large majority (47 to 34) for a law that threatens imprisonment for anyone who dares to deny that Israel is a Jewish and Democratic State.

The private member’s bill, proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev of the “Jewish Home” party, which sailed through its preliminary hearing, promises one year in prison to anyone who publishes “a call that negates the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State”, if the contents of the call might cause “actions of hate, contempt or disloyalty against the state or the institutions of government or the courts”.

Continue reading

On The Wrong Side, by Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

by Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom
24/01/09

OF ALL the beautiful phrases in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, these are the words that stuck in my mind: “You are on the wrong side of history.”

He was talking about the tyrannical regimes of the world. But we, too, should ponder these words.

In the last few days I have heard a lot of declarations from Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert. And every time, these eight words came back to haunt me: “You are on the wrong side of history!”

Obama was speaking as a man of the 21st century. Our leaders speak the language of the 19th century. They resemble the dinosaurs which once terrorized their neighborhood and were quite unaware of the fact that their time had already passed.

[…]

via On The Wrong Side – Gush Shalom – Israeli Peace Bloc.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Chomsky: No change coming with Obama

President Obama’s Weekly Address 01.24.09

Unseen Gaza (must-see)

Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Occupation

Gaza Crisis Appeal

(new tag)

A Father’s Grief, Uri Avnery, Oren Yiftachel, and Israelis ask for Sanctions on Israel

Dandelion Salad

Crossposted with permission from Jewish Peace News

Jewish Peace News
1.17.09

The population of Gaza is completely fenced in, and for the last three weeks – since the start of Israel’s air, sea and then land assaults – there has been no escape route, no possible exist from the Israeli assault. More than 1,000 Palestinians have already been killed in this war, many if not most of whom were civilians, including more than 300 children.

The internet, cell phones and the existence of concerned people outside the warzone give us a strange and terrifying window into life in Gaza. Human rights organizations are collecting testimonies from survivors of Israel’s attacks, which are available here: http://gazaeng.blogspot.com/search/label/testimonies. On another blog, a Palestinian from Ramallah, Mohammad, continues to report on his extended family in Gaza (we published links to other reports of his here: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-on-gaza.html). At last writing, Israeli forces had surrounded one uncle’s neighborhood (Tal al-Hawa), bombs were falling, houses collapsing, and that uncle and his family were no longer answering their phones: http://www.kabobfest.com/2009/01/gaza-no-sign-of-life.html.

Continue reading

Israel’s War of Deceit, Lies and Propaganda By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
ICH
January 12 “Gulf Times

Nearly 70 years ago, in the course of the Second World War, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centres.

The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.
Continue reading

Riz Khan: Uri Avnery & Daniel Pipes + Wexler Spouting Israeli Propaganda!

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

Though Israel has struck at hundreds of targets across Gaza, it has yet to seriously injure Hamas’ fighting force, the Izz ed-Din al Qassam brigades. But what does ‘victory’ mean for Israel?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Riz Khan: Uri Avnery“, posted with vodpod

Continue reading

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
Countercurrents
14 July, 2008
Gush Shalom

If you want to understand the policy of a country, look at the map – as Napoleon recommended.

Anyone who wants to guess whether Israel and/or the United States are going to attack Iran should look at the map of the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.

Through this narrow waterway, only 34 km wide, pass the ships that carry between a fifth and a third of the world’s oil, including that from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

…continued

h/t: williambowles.info

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

Amber Alert! Get ready for war by Justin Raimondo

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Iran Shows Its Cards By Scott Ritter

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh

Iran

No, I Can’t! Obama and The Israeli Lobby by Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

by Uri Avnery
Global Research, June 7, 2008

AFTER MONTHS of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.

And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.

IT WAS a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization had never seen anything like it. 7000 Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite, which came to kowtow at their feet. All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office, indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be seen.

The Washington of AIPAC is like the Constantinople of the Byzantine emperors in its heyday.

The world looked on and was filled with wonderment. The Israeli media were ecstatic. In all the world’s capitals the events were followed closely and conclusions were drawn. All the Arab media reported on them extensively. Aljazeera devoted an hour to a discussion of the phenomenon.

The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety. On the eve of their visit to Israel, this coming Thursday, the Israel Lobby stood at the center of political life in the US and the world at large.

WHY, ACTUALLY? Why do the candidates for the American presidency believe that the Israel lobby is so absolutely essential to their being elected?

The Jewish votes are important, of course, especially in several swing states which may decide the outcome. But African-Americans have more votes, and so do the Hispanics. Obama has brought to the political scene millions of new young voters. Numerically, the Arab-Muslim community in the US is also not an insignificant factor.

Some say that Jewish money speaks. The Jews are rich. Perhaps they donate more than others for political causes. But the myth about all-powerful Jewish money has an anti-Semitic ring. After all, other lobbies, and most decidedly the huge multinational corporations, have given considerable sums of money to Obama (as well as to his opponents). And Obama himself has proudly announced that hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens have sent him small donations, which have amounted to tens of millions.

True, it has been proven that the Jewish lobby can almost always block the election of a senator or a member of Congress who does not dance – and do so with fervor – to the Israeli tune. In some exemplary cases (which were indeed meant to be seen as examples) the lobby has defeated popular politicians by lending its political and financial clout to the election campaign of a practically unknown rival.

But in a presidential race?

THE TRANSPARENT fawning of Obama on the Israel lobby stands out more than similar efforts by the other candidates.

Why? Because his dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not compromise his principles.

And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of his party is to compromise his principles. And how!

The outstanding thing that distinguishes him from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain is his uncompromising opposition to the war in Iraq from the very first moment. That was courageous. That was unpopular. That was totally opposed to the Israel lobby, all of whose branches were fervidly pushing George Bush to start the war that freed Israel from a hostile regime.

And here comes Obama to crawl in the dust at the feet of AIPAC and go out of his way to justify a policy that completely negates his own ideas.

OK he promises to safeguard Israel’s security at any cost. That is usual. OK he threatens darkly against Iran, even though he promised to meet their leaders and settle all problems peacefully. OK he promised to bring back our three captured soldiers (believing, mistakenly, that all three are held by Hizbullah – an error that shows, by the way, how sketchy is his knowledge of our affairs.)

But his declaration about Jerusalem breaks all bounds. It is no exaggeration to call it scandalous.

NO PALESTINIAN, no Arab, no Muslim will make peace with Israel if the Haram-al-Sharif compound (also called the Temple Mount), one of the three holiest places of Islam and the most outstanding symbol of Palestinian nationalism, is not transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. That is one of the core issues of the conflict.

On that very issue, the Camp David conference of 2000 broke up, even though the then Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was willing to divide Jerusalem in some manner.

Along comes Obama and retrieves from the junkyard the outworn slogan “Undivided Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity”. Since Camp David, all Israeli governments have understood that this mantra constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to any peace process. It has disappeared – quietly, almost secretly – from the arsenal of official slogans. Only the Israeli (and American-Jewish) Right sticks to it, and for the same reason: to smother at birth any chance for a peace that would necessitate the dismantling of the settlements.

In prior US presidential races, the pandering candidates thought that it was enough to promise that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After being elected, not one of the candidates ever did anything about this promise. All were persuaded by the State Department that it would harm basic American interests.

Obama went much further. Quite possibly, this was only lip service and he was telling himself: OK, I must say this in order to get elected. After that, God is great.

But even so the fact cannot be ignored: the fear of AIPAC is so terrible, that even this candidate, who promises change in all matters, does not dare. In this matter he accepts the worst old-style Washington routine. He is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future – if and when he is elected president.

SIXTY FIVE years ago, American Jewry stood by helplessly while Nazi Germany exterminated their brothers and sisters in Europe. They were unable to prevail on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to do anything significant to stop the Holocaust. (And at that same time, many Afro-Americans did not dare to go near the polling stations for fear of dogs being set on them.)

What has caused the dizzying ascent to power of the American Jewish establishment? Organizational talent? Money? Climbing the social ladder? Shame for their lack of zeal during the Holocaust?

The more I think about this wondrous phenomenon, the stronger becomes my conviction (about which I have already written in the past) that what really matters is the similarity between the American enterprise and the Zionist one, both in the spiritual and the practical sphere. Israel is a small America, the USA is a huge Israel.

The Mayflower passengers, much as the Zionists of the first and second aliya (immigration wave), fled from Europe, carrying in their hearts a messianic vision, either religious or utopian. (True, the early Zionists were mostly atheists, but religious traditions had a powerful influence on their vision.) The founders of American society were “pilgrims”, the Zionists immigrants called themselves “olim” – short for olim beregel, pilgrims. Both sailed to a “promised land”, believing themselves to be God’s chosen people.

Both suffered a great deal in their new country. Both saw themselves as “pioneers”, who make the wilderness bloom, a “people without land in a land without people”. Both completely ignored the rights of the indigenous people, whom they considered sub-human savages and murderers. Both saw the natural resistance of the local peoples as evidence of their innate murderous character, which justified even the worst atrocities. Both expelled the natives and took possession of their land as the most natural thing to do, settling on every hill and under every tree, with one hand on the plow and the Bible in the other.

True, Israel did not commit anything approaching the genocide performed against the Native Americans, nor anything like the slavery that persisted for many generations in the US. But since the Americans have repressed these atrocities in their consciousness, there is nothing to prevent them from comparing themselves to the Israelis. It seems that in the unconscious mind of both nations there is a ferment of suppressed guilt feelings that express themselves in the denial of their past misdeeds, in aggressiveness and the worship of power.

HOW IS it that a man like Obama, the son of an African father, identifies so completely with the actions of former generations of American whites? It shows again the power of a myth to become rooted in the consciousness of a person, so that he identifies 100% with the imagined national narrative. To this may be added the unconscious urge to belong to the victors, if possible.

Therefore, I do not accept without reservation the speculation: “Well, he must talk like this in order to get elected. Once in the White House, he will return to himself.”

I am not so sure about that. It may well turn out that these things have a surprisingly strong hold on his mental world.

Of one thing I am certain: Obama’s declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.

If he sticks to them, once elected, he will be obliged to say, as far as peace between the two peoples of this country is concerned: “No, I can’t!”

© Copyright Uri Avnery, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9243

see

The Iran Trap By Chris Hedges

Iran

Israel

Israel Lobby

J Street

Obama-Barack

Israel at 60 – Crusader Anxiety By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
http://www.counterpunch.org
May 5, 2008

EVERY TIME I hear the voice of David Ben-Gurion uttering the words “Therefore we are gathered here…” I think of Issar Barsky, a charming youngster, the little brother of a girl-friend of mine.

The last time we met was in front of the dining hall of Kibbutz Hulda, on Friday, May 14, 1948.

In the coming night my company was to attack al-Qubab, an Arab village on the road to Jerusalem, east of Ramle. We were busy with preparations. I was cleaning my Czech-made rifle, when somebody came and told us that Ben-Gurion was just making a speech about the founding of the state.

Frankly, none of us was very interested in speeches by politicians in Tel Aviv. The city seemed so far away. The state, we knew, was here with us. If the Arabs were to win, there would be no state and no us. If we won, there would be a state. We were young and self-confident, and did not doubt for a moment that we would win.

But there was one detail that I was really curious about: what was the new state to be called? Judea? Zion? The Jewish State?

So I hastened to the dining hall. Ben-Gurion’s unmistakable voice was blaring from the radio. When he reached the words “…namely the State of Israel” I had had enough and left.

Outside I came across Issar. He was in another company, which was to attack another village that night. I told him about the name of the state and said “take care of yourself!”

Some days later he was killed. So I remember him as he was then: a boy of 19, a smiling, tall Sabra full of joie de vivre and innocence.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering

Uri Avnery congratulates Carter for decision to meet with Hamas leaders

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, April 15, 2008
Gush Shalom – 2008-04-13

“It would have been best for all of us, Mr. President, had you gone to Damascus with a full mandate from the Government of Israel and from you successor in the White House. To promote to the best of your ability the solution to the conflict and the end to both peoples’ suffering. But even in the absence of an official government mandate, you are going to Damascus with the warm regards and full support of the peace seekers in Israel” ends Avnery’s letter to former president Carter.”

Former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, activist of Gush Shalom (The Israeli Peace Bloc), congratulates Jimmy Carter for his wise and courageous decision to meet in Damascus with Haled Mash’al and other Hamas leaders and talk with them on the ways to promote peace in our region. Simultaneously, Avnery sent letters to PM Olmert as well as to Foreign Minister Livny and Defence Minister Barak – calling upon them to terminate the orchestrated campaign against Carter and make use of the former US President’s position and prestige in order to end the suffering and bloodshed among both peoples, as well as achieve at last an exchange of prisoners which would restore to their homes and families the captured Israeli soldier Gil’ead Shalit as well as a significant number of Palestinian prisoners.

The policy of boycotting Hamas, starting on the day that the movement won the democratic elections held among the Palestinians, has failed utterly and caused terrible suffering and bloodshed among both peoples. The Government of Israel, with the support of the US Government, has undertaken large and small military operations; constantly sought to foment civil war among Palestinians; and imposed an inhuman economic boycott of the Gaza Strip, which exactly today reaches a cruel new peak with the denial of fuel to a million and half people. Not only did all these acts fail to break Hama’s power; on the contrary, they resulted in increasing its popular support and severely weakening Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) who is increasingly perceived as a collaborator, unable to bring his people any real achievement.

The time has come to turn a new page, based on recognition of reality: Hamas is a significant force among Palestinians, and will continue to be such, for better or worse, in the foreseeable future. It is impossible to reach an Israeli-Palestinian Agreement – and actually implement it – without Hamas being a party to that agreement. The visit of former US President Jimmy carter can impart an enormous momentum to a move including a full ceasefire, between all Israelis and all Palestinians, which will end the suffering at Sderot and Gaza alike; removal of the shameful economic siege, which is a terrible collective punishment for Gaza inhabitants of Gaza; and above all – encouraging the creation of a Palestinian National Unity Government, representing all significant factions and able to negotiate on behalf of the entire Palestinian people, instead of the complete veto which the governments of Israel and the US at present impose over the creation of such a government.

“It would have been best for all of us, Mr. President, had you gone to Damascus with a full mandate from the Government of Israel and from you successor in the White House. To promote to the best of your ability the solution to the conflict and the end to both peoples’ suffering. But even in the absence of an official government mandate, you are going to Damascus with the warm regards and full support of the peace seekers in Israel” ends Avnery’s letter to former president Carter.”

Contact: Adam Keller adam [at] gush-shalom.org

Full Text of Letter

Tel-Aviv, April 13, 2008

To Mr. Jimmy Carter Former President of the United States

Dear Mr. President

I am writing to you on behalf of Gush Shalom, The Israeli Peace Bloc, to congratulate you on your wise and courageous decision to meet in Damascus with Hamas leaders and talk with them on the ways to promote peace in our region. I believe this is an act whose time had come – or rather, is already long overdue – and I would have liked the Government of Israel to avail itself of your position, your prestige and your tireless energy, in order to help end the suffering and bloodshed among both peoples.

As an increasing number of people are coming to realize, the policy of boycotting Hamas, starting on the day that the movement won the democratic elections held among the Palestinians, has failed utterly and caused terrible suffering and bloodshed to both peoples. The Government of Israel, with the support of the present US Administration, has undertaken large and small military operations; constantly sought to foment civil war among Palestinians; and imposed an inhuman economic boycott of the Gaza Strip, which exactly today reaches a cruel new peak with the denial of fuel to a million and half people. Not only did all these acts fail to break Hamas’ power; on the contrary, they resulted in increasing its popular support and severely weakening Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) who is more and more perceived as a collaborator, unable to bring his people any real achievement.

The time has come to turn a new page, based on recognition of reality: Hamas is a significant force among Palestinians, and will continue to be such, for better or worse, in the foreseeable future. It is impossible to reach an Israeli-Palestinian Agreement – and actually implement it – without Hamas being a party to that agreement.

Your visit to our region, Mr. President, has the potential of imparting an enormous momentum to removing the obstacles presently hindering serious negotiations aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands conquered in 1967. To the mind of myself the my fellow activists, what is most urgently needed at present includes:

* A full ceasefire, between all Israelis and all Palestinians, which will proved a safe daily life to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip as to those of the Israeli communities near to it;

* Removal of the shameful economic siege, which is a terrible collective punishment for Gaza inhabitants of Gaza;

* Achieving at last an exchange of prisoners which would restore to their homes and families the captured Israeli soldier Gil’ead Shalit as well as a significant number of Palestinian prisoners

* Encouraging the creation of a Palestinian National Unity Government, representing all important factions and able to negotiate on behalf of the entire Palestinian people – instead of the complete veto which the governments of Israel and the US at present impose on the creation of such a government among Palestinians.

It would have been best for all of us, Mr. President, were you able to go to Damascus with a full mandate from the Government of Israel and from you successor in the White House, to promote to the best of your ability the solution to the conflict in our region and the end to both peoples’ suffering. But even in the absence of an official government mandate, know that you are going to Damascus with the warm regards and full support of the peace seekers in Israel.

Most Sincerely Yours

Uri Avnery
Former Member of the Knesset

On behalf of Gush Shalom (The Israeli Peace Bloc)

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , Gush Shalom, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8687

The Hands of Esau By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
15/01/08 “ICH

Which of the two men is the leader of the greatest power on earth and which is the boss of a small client state?

A visitor from another planet, attending the press conference in Jerusalem, would find it hard not to answer: Olmert is the president of the great power, Bush is his vassal.

Olmert is taller. He talked endlessly, while Bush listened patiently. While Olmert anointed Bush with flattery that would have made a Byzantine emperor blush, it was quite clear that it is Olmert who decides policy, while Bush humbly accepts the Israeli diktat. And Bush’s flattery of Olmert exceeded even Olmert’s flattery of Bush.

Both, we learned, are “courageous”. Both are “determined”. Both have a “vision”. The word “vision”, once reserved for prophets, starred in every second sentence. (Bush could not know that in Israel, “vision” has long become a jocular appellation for highfaluting speeches, usually in combination with the word “Zionism”.)

The President and the Prime Minister have something else in common: not a word of what they said at the press conference had any connection with the truth.

One OF the most moving dramas in the Bible tells about our old blind forefather, Isaac, who wanted to bless his eldest son, Esau, a reddish and hairy hunter. But the second son, the homebody (or rather tent-body) Jacob, exploited the absence of his brother and went to his father in order to steal the blessing. He wore Esau’s clothes and covered his arms with hairy goat skins. The ruse nearly failed, when the father felt the arms of Jacob and his suspicion was aroused.

That’s when he uttered the famous words: “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” (Genesis, 27:22).

Yet Jacob, the impostor, did receive the blessing and became the father of the nation which was named after him (he was also called Israel). It seems that Ehud Olmert is a true successor: there is no connection between his voice and his hands.

Anyone who listens to him – not just at the press conference, but also on every other occasion – hears words of peace and reason: The Palestinians must have a state of their own. The “vision” must be realized while Bush is president, because Israel has never had and never will have a truer friend. The settlement outposts must be removed, as promised by us again and again. The settlements must be frozen. Etc. etc.

That is the voice of Jacob. But the hands, well, they are the hands of Esau.

* * *BEFORE ANNAPOLIS, during Annapolis and after Annapolis, nothing at all was done to promote the Two-State Solution. The negotiations were about to begin – any moment now – a year ago, and now they are again about to begin – any moment now. Yes, the “core issues” – borders, Jerusalem, refugees – will be addressed. Sure. Any moment now.

But in the meantime, the hands of Esau are working feverishly. All over the occupied territories, the settlements are being enlarged. The existing outposts remain untouched, new ones spring up from time to time. Around them, a well choreographed dance has evolved, a kind of formal ballet executed by the settlers and the army. The settlers set up a new outpost, the army removes it, the settlers return and set it up again, the army dismantles, and so forth.

In the meantime the outpost gets bigger and bigger. The government connects it to the electricity and water systems and builds a road. And the army, of course, protects it day and night. We cannot leave good Jews at the mercy of the evil Palestinian terrorists, can we?

Bush knows all this and still continues to blabber that “the illegal outposts must be removed”. And so it continues: the voice is Jacob’s voice, the hands are the hands of Esau.

But one cannot fool all of the people all of the time, to quote another American President who was slightly more intelligent than the present incumbent.

And so, after Olmert and Bush repeated the mantra about removing the outposts and freezing the settlements, one of the journalists popped an innocent question: How does this fit together with the announcement about the building of a huge new housing project at Har Homa?

If anyone thought that this would embarrass Olmert, he was sadly mistaken. Olmert just cannot be embarrassed. He simply answered that this promise does not apply to Jerusalem, nor to the “Jewish population centers” beyond the Green Line.

“Jerusalem” – since the time of Levy Eshkol – is not only the Old City and the Holy Basin. It is the huge tract of land annexed to Israel after the Six-Day War, from the approaches to Bethlehem to the outskirts of Ramallah. This area includes the hill that was once forested and called Jebel Abu-Ghneim, now the site of the big and ugly Har Homa settlement. And the “population centers” are the big settlement blocs in the occupied Palestinian territories, which President Bush so generously presented to Ariel Sharon.

This means that almost all the extensive building activities that are now going on beyond the Green Line are not covered by the Israeli undertaking to freeze the settlements. And while Olmert publicly announced this, President Bush was standing at his side, smiling foolishly and painting on another layer of compliments.

The following day, Bush visited Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and told the shocked Palestinians that the innumerable Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank, which turn the life of the Palestinians into hell, are necessary for the protection of Israel and must remain where they are – until after the establishment of the hoped-for democratic Palestinian state.

Condoleezza Rice was quick to remind him in private that this was not very wise, since he was about to visit half a dozen Arab countries. So Bush hastened to call another press conference in Jerusalem, talking about the “core issues”: there would be a “contiguous” Palestinian state, but the 1949 borders (the Green Line) would not be restored. He would not speak about Jerusalem. Also, the refugee problem would be settled by an international fund – meaning that none at all would be allowed to return.

Altogether, much less than Bill Clinton’s 2000 “parameters”, and less than most Israelis are already prepared to accept. It amounts to 110% support for the official Israeli government line.

After that, Bush had dinner with Israeli cabinet ministers. He cordially shook the hand of Minister Rafael Eitan, the former spymaster who controlled the Israeli spy in Washington, Jonathan Pollard, whom Bush refuses to pardon. (Eitan would be arrested the moment he set foot on American soil.) He spoke cordially with the ultra-rightist Minister Avigdor Liberman, urging him to support Olmert. Throughout the dinner, he talked and talked, until Condi sent him a discreet note suggesting that he shut up. Bush, in high spirits, read the note out loud.

* * *I HAVE mentioned more than once the British World War II poster which was pasted up on the walls in Palestine: “Is this trip really necessary?”

That is again the question now: Is this trip of Bush’s really necessary?

The answer is: Of course. Necessary for Bush. Necessary for Olmert. Necessary for Abbas, too.

For Bush, because he is a lame duck, in the last year of his term, and therefore almost paralyzed. In the United States he is rapidly becoming irrelevant. His touted Middle East tour has been drowned out by the primary elections mayhem, which produces a new drama almost every day. While Hillary wrestles with Obama and the glib Bill competes with an impressive black grandma, who cares where the worst president in American history is traipsing around?

Olmert is well aware of the situation. When he declares that the last year of the term of his noble friend must be used, what he really means to say is: he cannot exert any pressure on us, he cannot even “nudge” us, as he promises. There is no need to remove even one single outpost for him. So let us squeeze the last drop of juice out of his presidency, before he is thrown onto the trash pile of history.

But Olmert needs the presence of Bush at his side, because his position is not much more secure than Bush’s. Bush is bankrupt in a big way, after starting one of the most pointless and unsuccessful wars in US history. That is true for Olmert in a small way. He is bankrupt too, and he also started a pointless, failed war.

In two weeks time, the Winograd Commission will publish its final report on Lebanon War II, and everyone expects it to come down on Olmert like a 16 ton weight. He may survive, if only because there is now no credible substitute. But he needs all the help he can get – and what better help than the “Leader of the Free World” gazing at him with liquid eyes?

It’s the old story about the lame and the blind.

* * *THIS WAS NOT Bush’s last presidential visit to Israel. He has already promised to return on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state, which falls this year (in accordance with the Hebrew calendar) on May 8. What else can a president do in his last months in office, except star in ceremonies with kings, presidents and prime ministers?

Perhaps he had intended to finish with a big bang, a historic climax that would overshadow even his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, such as a grand attack on Iran. But it seems that the US intelligence community, in a patriotic act that makes up for some of its earlier sins, has prevented this by publishing its sensational report.

True, this week something happened that put on a warning light. Some small Iranian boats were reported to have made a provocative gesture against the powerful American warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

That takes us right back to 1964 and to what has become known as the “Gulf of Tonkin incident”. President Lyndon Johnson announced that Vietnamese vessels had attacked American warships. That was a lie, but it was enough for Congress to empower the president to widen the war that killed millions of people (and buried Johnson’s career).

But this time the red light went out quickly. The US Congress is not what it was, it seems that the Americans have no stomach for another war, the historical parallel was too obvious. Bush has been left without an option for war. He has been left with nothing.

Apart from Olmert’s flattery, of course.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist who has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He served three terms in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), and is the founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc)

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Help! A Cease Fire! by Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

by Uri Avnery
zope.gush-shalom.org
22/12/07

FORGET THE Qassams. Forget the mortar shells. They are nothing compared with what Hamas launched at us this week:

The chief of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, has approached an Israeli newspaper and proposed a cease-fire. No more Qassams, no more mortars, no suicide bombings, no Israeli military incursions into the Strip, no “targeted liquidations” of leaders. A total cease-fire. And not only in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank, too.

The military leadership exploded in anger. Who does he think he is, that bastard? That he can stop us with such dirty tricks?

THIS IS the second time within a few days that an attempt has been made to thwart our war plans.

Two weeks ago, the American intelligence community declared, in an authoritative report, that Iran had stopped its attempt to produce a nuclear bomb as early as four years ago.

Instead of heaving a sigh of relief, Israeli officials reacted with undisguised anger. Since then, all the commentators in Israel, as well as our huge network of hired pens around the world, have tried to undermine this document. It is mendacious, without foundation, motivated by a hidden, sinister agenda.

But miraculously, the report survived unscathed. It has not even been scratched.

The report, so it seems, has swept from the table any possibility of an American and/or Israeli military attack on Iran. Now comes the peace initiative of Haniyeh and endangers the strategy of our military establishment towards the Gaza Strip.

Again, the army choir gets going. Generals in uniform and out of uniform, military correspondents, political correspondents, commentators of all stripes and genders, politicians from left and right – all are attacking the Haniyeh offer.

The message is: it must not be accepted under any circumstances! It should not even be considered! On the contrary: the offer shows that Hamas is about to break, and therefore the war against it must be intensified, the blockade on Gaza must be tightened, more leaders must be killed – indeed, why not kill Haniyeh himself? What are we waiting for?

A paradox inherent in the conflict since its beginning is at work here: if the Palestinians are strong, it is dangerous to make peace with them. If they are weak, there is no need to make peace with them. Either way, they must be broken.

“There is nothing to talk about!” Ehud Olmert declared at once. So everything is alright, the bloodletting can go on.

AND IT IS indeed going on. In the Gaza Strip and around it, a cruel little war is being waged. As usual, each side claims that it is only reacting to the atrocities of the other side.

The Israeli side claims that it is responding to the Qassams and mortars. What sovereign state could tolerate being bombarded by deadly missiles from the other side of the border?

True, thousands of missiles have killed only a tiny number of people. More than 100 times as many are killed and injured on the roads. But the Qassams are sowing terror, the inhabitants of Sderot and the surrounding area demand revenge and reinforcement for their houses, which would cost a fortune.

If the Qassams were really bothering our political and military leaders, they would have jumped at the cease-fire offer. But the leaders don’t really care about what’s happening to the Sderot population, out on the geographical and political “periphery”, far from the center of the country. It carries no political or economic weight. In the eyes of the leadership, its suffering is, all in all, tolerable. It also has an important positive side: it provides an ideal pretext for the actions of the army.

THE ISRAELI strategic aim in Gaza is not to put an end to the Qassams. It would still be the same if not a single Qassam fell on Israel.

The real aim is to break the Palestinians, which means breaking Hamas.

The method is simple, even primitive: to tighten the blockade on land, on sea and in the air, until the situation in the Strip becomes absolutely intolerable.

The total stoppage of supplies, except the very minimum necessary to prevent starvation, has reduced life to an inhuman level. There are effectively no imports or exports, economic life has ground to a standstill, the cost of living has risen sky-high. The supply of fuel has already been reduced by half, and is planned to sink even lower. The water supply can be cut at will.

Military activity is gradually increasing. The Israeli army conducts daily incursions, employing tanks and armored bulldozers, in order to nibble at the margins of the inhabited areas and draw the Palestinian fighters into a face to face confrontation. Every day, from five to ten Palestinian fighters are being killed, together with some civilians. Every day, inhabitants are being abducted in order to extract information from them. The declared purpose is attrition, to harry and wear down, and perhaps also to prepare for the re-conquest of the Strip – even if the army chiefs want to avoid this at almost any price.

One after another, the Palestinian leaders and commanders are being killed from the air. Every point in the Strip is exposed to Israeli airplanes, helicopter gunships and drones. Up-to-date technology makes it possible to track the “children of death”, those marked for killing, and a wide net of informers and agents, some of them under duress, which has been built up well in advance, completes the picture.

The army chiefs hope that by tightening all these screws they can push the local population to rise up against Hamas and the other fighting organizations. All Palestinian opposition to the occupation will collapse. The entire Palestinian people will raise their hands in surrender and submit to the mercies of the occupation, which will be able to do as it pleases – expropriate lands, enlarge settlements, set up walls and roadblocks, slice up the West Bank into a series of semi-autonomous enclaves.

In this Israeli plan, the job reserved for the Palestinian Authority is to act as subcontractors for Israeli security, in return for a stream of money that will safeguard its control of the enclaves.

At the end of this phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian people are supposed to be cut to pieces and helpless in face of the Israeli expansion. The historic clash between the unstoppable force (the Zionist enterprise) and the immovable object (the Palestinian population) will end with the crushing of Palestinian opposition.

IN ORDER to succeed in this, a sophisticated diplomatic game must be played. Under no circumstances may the support of the international community be lost. On the contrary, the entire world, led by the US and EU, must support Israel and look upon its actions as a just struggle against Palestinian terrorism, itself an integral part of “international terrorism”.

The Annapolis conference, and afterwards the Paris meeting, were important steps in this direction. Almost the whole world, including most of the Arab world, has fallen into step with the Israeli plan – perhaps innocently, perhaps cynically.

Events after Annapolis developed as expected: no negotiations have started, both side are just playing with images. The very first day after Annapolis, the Israeli government announced huge building projects beyond the Green Line. When Condoleezza Rice mumbled some words of opposition, it was announced that the plans had been shelved. In fact they continue at full speed.

How do Olmert and his colleagues fool the whole world? Benjamin Disraeli once said about a certain British politician: “The Right Honourable Gentleman surprised his opponents bathing in the sea and took away their clothes.” We, the pioneers of the Two-State Solution, can say this about our government. It has stolen our flag and wrapped it around itself in order to hide its intentions.

At long last, there now exists a world-wide consensus that peace in our region must be based on the co-existence of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. Our government has slipped into it and is exploiting this agreement with another aim altogether: the rule of Israel in the whole country and the turning of the Palestinian population centers into a series of Bantustans. This is, in fact, a One-State-Solution (Greater Israel) in the guise of the Two-State Solution.

CAN THIS plan succeed?

The battle of Gaza is in full swing. In spite of the huge military superiority of the Israeli army, it is not one-sided. Even the Israeli commanders point out that the Hamas forces are getting stronger. They train hard, their weapons are getting more effective and they show a lot of courage and determination. It seems that the falling of their commanders and fighters in a steady bloodletting is not affecting their morale. That is one of the reasons why the Israeli army is shrinking back from re-conquering the Gaza Strip.

Inside the Strip, both the main organizations enjoy wide public support – the demonstration to commemorate Yassir Arafat organized by Fatah and the counter-demonstration of Hamas each drew hundreds of thousands of participants. But it seems that the great majority of the Palestinian public wants national unity in order to fight together against the occupation. They do not want religious compulsion, but neither will they tolerate a leadership that cooperates with the occupation.

The government may be very mistaken in counting on the obedience of Fatah. Competing with Hamas, Fatah may surprise us by becoming a fighting organization once again. The stream of money flowing into the Authority may not prevent this. Ze’ev Jabotinsky was wiser than Tony Blair when he said 85 years ago that you cannot buy a whole people.

If the Israeli army invades Gaza in order to re-conquer it, the population will stand behind the fighters. Nobody can know how it will react if the economic misery gets worse. The results may be unexpected. Experience with other liberation movements indicates that misery can break a population, but it can also strengthen it.

This is, simply put, an existential test for the Palestinian people – perhaps the most severe since 1948. It is also a test for the shrewd policy of Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and the army chiefs.

So a cease-fire is not likely to come into effect. At first Olmert rejected one out of hand. Then this was denied. Then the denial was denied.

The inhabitants of Sderot would probably have been glad to accept a cease-fire. But then, who bothers to ask them.

h/t: Jewish Peace News email

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

How They Stole the Bomb From Us – Ahmadinejad Has Screwed Us Again! By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
Counterpunch
December 10, 2007

It was like an atom bomb falling on Israel.

The earth shook. Our political and military leaders were all in shock. The headlines screamed with rage.

What happened?

A real catastrophe: the American intelligence community, comprising 16 different agencies, reached a unanimous verdict: already in 2003, the Iranians terminated their efforts to produce a nuclear bomb, and they have not resumed them since. Even if they change their mind in the future, they will need at least five years to achieve their aim. SHOULDN’T WE be overjoyed? Shouldn’t the masses in Israel be dancing in the streets, as they did on November 29, 1947, sixty years ago? After all, we have been saved!

Until this week, we have been regularly hearing that – any minute now – the Iranians will produce a bomb that threatens our very existence. Nothing less. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler of the Middle East, who announces every second day that Israel must disappear from the map, was about to fulfill his own prophecy.

A small nuclear bomb, even a teeny-weeny one like the ones dropped on Japan, would be enough to wipe out the whole Zionist enterprise. If it fell on Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square, the economic, cultural and military center of Israel would be vaporized, together with hundreds of thousands of Jews. A second Holocaust.

And lo and behold – no bomb and no any-minute-now. The wicked Ahmadinejad can threaten us as much as he wants – he just has not got the means to harm us. Isn’t that a reason for celebration?

So why does this feel like a national disaster? A TWO-BIT psychologist (like me) might say: Jews have become used to anxiety. After hundreds of years of persecution, expulsions, inquisition, pogroms and then the Holocaust, we have little red warning lights in our heads, which come on at the slightest sign of danger. In such a situation, we feel at home. We know what to do.

But when the lights stay off and no danger appears on the horizon, we get the feeling that something suspicious is going on. Something is wrong. Perhaps the lights are out of order. Perhaps it’s really a trap!

There is one little consolation in the new situation. While it seems as if the immediate danger of annihilation has disappeared, there is a feeling that we are alone, on our own again.

That is another sign of Jewish uniqueness: We are facing the entire world alone. As in the days of the Holocaust, all the Goyim have forsaken us. Face to face with the Iranian monster which threatens to devour us, we now stand here alone.

All our media are repeating this in unison, like an orchestra which does not need a conductor, because it knows the music by heart.

True, other peoples, too, can derive satisfaction from standing alone. Engraved in my memory is a British poster that was hanging on our walls in Palestine in the dark days after the fall of France to the Nazis, when Britain was left quite alone in the war. Under the grim face of Winston Churchill the slogan proudly proclaimed: “Alright then, Alone!”

But with us this has almost become a national ritual. As we used to sing in the good old days of Golda Meir: “The whole world is against us / That is an old melody / …And everybody who is against us / Let him go to hell…” At the time, one of the army entertainment teams even turned it into a folk dance.

In the last few years, a broad coalition against Iran has come into being. The Iranian bomb has become the heart of an international consensus, led by America, Queen of the World. With the consent of all its five permanent members, the UN Security Council has decreed sanctions against Tehran.

Now, before our very eyes, this coalition is crumbling. President Bush is stammering. Gone is the excuse for an American military attack on Iran, the dream of the Israeli government and the neocons. Gone is even the pretext for more stringent sanctions.

God knows, perhaps even the existing feeble sanctions will be abolished tomorrow.THE FIRST reaction of the Israeli leadership was vigorous and determined: total denial.

The American report is simply wrong, all the media proclaimed. It is based on false information. Our own intelligence community is in possession of much better data, which prove that the bomb is well on its way.

Really? All the intelligence in the hands of the Mossad is automatically transferred to the CIA. It is part of the mass of data on which the American report is based. It must be remembered that the published part of the report constitutes only 3% of the complete document.

So the American intelligence agencies must be deliberately lying.

There is no escaping the conclusion that murky political motives must lie behind their unequivocal findings. Perhaps they want to make up for the false reports which President Bush employed to justify his invasion of Iraq. Then they overestimated, now they underestimate. Perhaps they want to take revenge on Bush and believe that the time is ripe, since he has become a lame duck. Or they are adapting themselves to American public opinion, which cannot stomach another war. And, besides, their chiefs are, of course, all anti-Semites.

Even if the American intelligence operatives innocently believe that Iran has stopped work on the Bomb, it just shows how naive they are. They cannot imagine that the Iranians are fooling them. Who knows better than us how easy it is to hide an atomic bomb and deceive the whole world? After all, we have been at it for years.

But all this does not change the fact: this report pushes American policy in a new direction and changes the entire international constellation.

The war on Iran, which was to be the defining event of 2008, has turned for the time being into a non-event.WHAT ARE the results, as far as Israel is concerned? Why have our leaders been in a state of shock since the publication of the report?

The possibility of an independent Israeli military strike against Iran has vanished. Israel cannot wage war without the unreserved backing of the US. We tried once – the Sinai War of 1956 – and then President Dwight D. Eisenhower kicked our ass. Since then we have taken great care to obtain the blessing of the US before every war.

For the military and intelligence services, the report is an unmitigated disaster for another reason too. The Iranian bomb plays an indispensable part in the army’s annual fight for its massive chunk of the budget cake.

For right-wing demagogues, the effect is even more disheartening. Binyamin Netanyahu has built his whole strategy on the Iranian scare, hoping to ride the Bomb right into the Prime Minister’s office.

Furthermore, when the Iranian issue cools down, the Palestinian issue warms up. That is especially true in Washington DC. President Bush is in trouble, his fiascoes in Afghanistan and Iraq are still dragging on. Any American effort to install a stable government in Iraq, with its Shiite majority, depends on the backing of Shiite Iran. Bush’s dream of delivering a lightning stroke against Iran and thus leaving his imprint on history is going up in smoke.

What can he do in order to leave any positive legacy at all? The default alternative is Israeli-Palestinian peace. Perhaps he will now give stronger backing to poor Condoleezza. Perhaps he himself will get more involved. Fact: he is soon going to visit Israel for the first since entering the White House.

True, this effort has not much chance of success, but people in Jerusalem are worried nonetheless. That’s just what we need – Bush acting like that anti-Semite, Jimmy Carter, who twisted Begin’s arm and forced him to make peace with Egypt!

So what to do? One can instruct Israeli diplomats abroad to redouble their efforts to convince the governments that the situation has not changed, that one must fight against the Iranian bomb, whether it exists or not. But tell that to the Russians and the Chinese! The world’s governments are happy to see the end of Bush’s pressure – all except that happy couple, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, the new White House poodles now Tony Blair has gone. THE NEW situation poses a thorny dilemma for Ehud Olmert.

On the way back from Annapolis, he uttered some amazing statements. If the “two states solution collapses,” he declared, “the State of Israel is finished”. Nobody in the peace camp has yet dared to go as far as that.

Does he believe what he says, or is it just a new spin? That is the question that is now dominating the discourse in Israel. In other words: is he just trying to win time, or is he really going to work for a peace settlement?

All indications suggest that he is in no position to take any step whatsoever. If he tries to carry out the first phase of the Road Map and dismantle some settlement outposts, he will face not only the determined opposition of the settlers and their supporters, and the silent (but highly effective) opposition of the military, but also obstruction by his government colleagues. Before the first outpost is dismantled, his coalition will break apart.

Olmert has no other coalition handy. Ehud Barak has been trying again and again to outflank him on the right and cannot be relied upon in a crisis. The Labor Party is a chaotic, spineless and unprincipled body. The shrunken Meretz party has a faction of only five Knesset members, four of whom are competing with each other for the party leadership. The ten members of the Arab factions (that’s what they are generally called, even though one Hadash Knesset member is a Jew) are outcasts, and no “Zionist” government could be seen to rely openly on their support. And in Olmert’s own faction there are several extreme-right members who would obstruct any peace effort.

In such a situation, the natural tendency of a real politician like Olmert is to do nothing, to issue pronouncement left and right (in both senses) and try to gain time.

This week, the government announced plans to build 300 new homes in the odious Har Homa settlement, near Jerusalem. For someone like me, who has spent many days and nights demonstrating against the building of this particular settlement, that is bitter news indeed. It certainly does not indicate a turn for the better.

On the other hand, I have heard an interesting thesis from one of Olmert’s inner circle. According to this, knowing that he is going to lose power, Olmert may tell himself: if I must fall, why not enter history as somebody who has sacrificed himself on the altar of a lofty principle, instead of just vanishing as a good-for-nothing political hack?

If he has no other way out, he might choose this solution – particularly as his immediate family is pushing him in this direction.

I would evaluate this possibility as “unlikely” – but stranger things have happened.

In any case, perhaps the peace forces should overcome their understandable reservations and try to influence public opinion in a way that would help Olmert turn in this direction. EITHER WAY, one thing is certain: that son of a bitch, Ahmadinejad, has screwed us again.

He has stolen our most precious possession: the Iranian Atomic Threat.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

NIE

Annapolis “The Tumult And The Shouting Dies…” By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
12/04/07 “ICH

“THE TUMULT and the shouting dies, / The captains and the kings depart…” Rudyard Kipling wrote in his unforgettable poem “Lest We Forget” (“Recessional”)


King George departed even before the tumult had died. His helicopter carried him away over the horizon, just as his trusty steed carries the cowboy into the sunset at the end of the movie. At that moment, the speeches in the assembly hall were still going ahead at full blast.

This summed up the whole event. The final statement announced that the United States will supervise the negotiations, act as a referee of the implementation and as a judge throughout. Everything depends on her. If she wants it – much will happen. If she does not want it – nothing will happen.

That bodes ill. There is no indication that George Bush will really intervene to achieve anything, apart from nice photos. Some people believe that the whole show was put on to make poor Condoleezza Rice feel good, after all her efforts as Secretary of State have come to nought.

Even if Bush wanted to, could he do anything? Is he capable of putting pressure on Israel, in the face of vigorous opposition from the pro-Israel lobby, and especially from the Christian-Evangelist public, to which he himself belongs?

A friend told me that during the conference he watched the televised proceedings with the sound turned off, just observing the body language of the principal actors. That way he noticed an interesting detail: Bush and Olmert touched each other many times, but there was almost no physical contact between Bush and Mahmoud Abbas. More than that: during all the joint events, the distance between Bush and Olmert was smaller than the distance between Bush and Abbas. Several times Bush and Olmert walked ahead together, with Abbas trailing behind.

That’s the whole story.

SHERLOCK HOLMES said in one of his cases that the solution could be found in “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” When it was pointed out to him that the dog did nothing, he explained: “That was the curious incident.”

Anyone who wants to understand what has (or has not) happened at Annapolis will find the answer in this fact: the dog did not bark. The settlers and their friends were keeping quiet, did not panic, did not get excited, did not distribute posters of Olmert in SS uniform (as they had done with Rabin after Oslo). All in all, they contented themselves with the obligatory prayer at the Western Wall and a smallish demonstration near the Prime Minister’s residence.

This means that they were not worried. They knew that nothing would come out of it, that there would be no agreement on the dismantling of even one measly settlement outpost. And on the forecast of the settlers’ leaders one can rely in such matters. If there had been the slightest danger that peace would result from this conference, they would have mobilized their followers en masse.

THE HAMAS movement, on the other hand, did organize mass demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank towns. The Hamas leaders were very worried indeed.

Not because they were afraid that peace would be concluded at the meeting. They were apprehensive of another danger: that the only real aim of the meeting was to prepare the ground for an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Ami Ayalon, a former admiral who once posed as a man of peace, and who is now a Labor member of the cabinet, appeared during the conference on Israeli TV to say so quite openly: he was in favor of the conference because it legitimizes this operation.

The line of thought goes like this: In order to fulfill his obligation under the Road Map, Abbas must “destroy the terrorist infrastructure” in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “Terrorism” means Hamas. Since Abbas is unable to conquer the Gaza Strip himself, the Israeli army will do it for him.

True, it may be costly. In the last few months, a lot of arms have been flowing into Gaza through the tunnels under the border with Egypt. Many people on both sides will lose their lives. But “What can you do? There is no alternative.”

It may be that in retrospect, the main (if not the only) outcome of Annapolis will be this: the conquest of the Gaza Strip in order to “strengthen Abbas”.

Hamas, in any case, is worried. And not without reason.

In preparation for such a confrontation, the Hamas leaders have become even more shrill in their opposition to the meeting, to which they were not invited. They denounced Abbas as a collaborator and a traitor, reiterating that Hamas would never recognize Israel nor accept a peace agreement with it.

BACK TO the White House: if the three leaders agreed there in secret deliberations that the Israeli army will invade the Gaza Strip, that is very bad news.

It would have been better to get Hamas involved – if not directly, then indirectly. The absence of Hamas left a yawning gap at the conference. What is the sense in convening 40 representatives from all over the world, and leaving more than half the Palestinian people without representation?

The more so since the boycott of Hamas has pushed the organization further into a corner, causing it to oppose the meeting even more vociferously and incite the Palestinian street against it.

Hamas is not only the armed body that now dominates the Gaza Strip. It is first of all the political movement that won the majority of the votes of the Palestinian people in democratic elections – not only in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank, too. That will not change if Israel conquers the Strip tomorrow. On the contrary: such a move may stigmatize Abbas as a collaborator in a war against his own people, and actually strengthen the roots of Hamas in the Palestinian public.

Olmert said that first of all the “terrorist infrastructure” must be eliminated, and only then can there be progress towards peace. This totally misrepresents the nature of a “terrorist infrastructure” – regrettable from a person whose father (like Tzipi Livni’s father) was a senior Irgun “terrorist”. It also shows that peace does not head the list of his aspirations – because that statement constitutes a deadly land-mine on the way to an agreement. It is putting the cart before the horse.

The logical sequence is the other way round: First of all we have to reach a peace agreement that is acceptable to the majority of the Palestinians. That means (a) to lay the foundations for a State of Palestine whose border will run along the Green Line (with limited swaps of territory) and whose capital will be East Jerusalem, (b) to call upon the Palestinian people to ratify this agreement in a referendum, and (c) to call upon the military wing of Hamas to lay down their arms or to be absorbed into the regular forces of the new state, similarly to what happened in Israel, and join the political system in the new state.

If there were an assurance that this is the way things will go ahead, there is still a reasonable chance of convincing Hamas not to obstruct the process and to allow Abbas to manage it – as Hamas has agreed in the past.

Why? Because Hamas, like any other serious political movement, is dependent on popular support. At this point, with the occupation getting worse from day to day and all the routes to peace seemingly blocked, the Palestinian masses are convinced that the method of armed resistance, as practiced by Hamas, is the only one that offers them any hope. If the masses become convinced that the political path of Abbas is bearing fruit and is leading to the end of the occupation, Hamas, too, will be compelled to change course.

Unfortunately, the Annapolis conference did nothing to encourage such hopes. The Palestinian public, like the Israeli one, treated it with a mixture of distrust and disdain. It looks like an empty show run by a lame duck American president, whose only remaining pleasure is to be photographed as the leader of the world. And if Bush gets the UN resolution he wants to hide behind – another resolution that nobody will take seriously – it will not change anything.

Especially if it is true, as reported in the Israeli press, that the Israeli government is planning a huge expansion of the settlements, and if the army chiefs start another bloody war, this time in Gaza.

THEN DID this spectacle have no positive side at all? Will it be forgotten tomorrow, as dozens of other meetings in the past have been forgotten, so only people with an exceptional memory are aware they ever happened?

I am not sure that this is so.

True, it was only a waterfall of words. But in the lives of nations, words, too, have their value.

Almost the whole of humanity was represented at this conference. China. India. Russia. Europe. Almost all Arab governments lent their support. And in this company, it was solemnly resolved that peace must be established between Israel and an independent and viable State of Palestine. True, the terms were not spelled out, but they were hovering over the conference. All the participants knew what they were.

The representatives of the Israeli mainstream joined – at least pro forma – this consensus. Perhaps they did so tongue in cheek, perhaps only as a ploy, perhaps as an act of deceit. But as our sages said ages ago: he who accepts the Torah not because of itself will in the end accept it for itself. Meaning: if somebody accepts an idea from tactical calculation he will be compelled to defend it, and in the end he will convince himself. Even Olmert has already declared on his way home: “Without the Two-State Solution, the State of Israel is finished.”

In connection with this, a competition between cabinet members is already developing, and that is a good sign. Tzipi Livni has set up more than a dozen committees of experts, each one charged with dealing with a particular aspect of peace, from the division of water to the allocation of television channels. (For those with a good memory: this is happening 50 years after I proposed the setting up of exactly such an apparatus, which I called the “White General Staff”, as opposed to the “Khaki General Staff”).

True, the Annapolis conference was no more than a small step, taken under duress. But it was a tiny step in the right direction.

The consciousness of a large body of people changes only in a long and slow process, at an almost geological pace. This cannot be detected with the naked eye. But, as Galileo Galilei murmured to himself: “And yet it does move!”
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Annapolis Hypocrisy Hides Occupied Palestine Reality by Stephen Lendman

Outside the Middle East Peace Conference (videos)